OLLI Winter Chair

Laurie Bailey

I grew up in East Peoria, went to ICC and graduated from Bradley with a bachelor’s in education. I married Tim Bailey and we have 2 daughters, 2 sons-in-law and 3 grandchildren.  I was a teacher for 32 years.  For most of that time I taught 5th grade math. I have been wonderfully retired for a few years now and loving it. 

Tim retired before me and attended OLLI.  I was his guest during spring classes and I became hooked too. My first impression was amazement - I was amazed with the quality and diversity of the classes, trips and study groups. I wish people knew how welcoming everyone is and that they should be very comfortable coming to OLLI by themselves. 

During the class planning sessions, it is so impressive to hear an idea thrown out for a class and someone knows someone who might be able to teach the class.  It is the level of contacts that some people have that amazes me, and their willingness to do the work involved to contact the possible instructor. 

Since I’ve become a volunteer with OLLI, I’ve seen improvement in the streamlined process of registering for classes, trips, and study groups during the Registration Social.  During my short amount of time with OLLI that has improved immensely. 

I’ve met some great people through my involvement with OLLI.  Michelle Riggio has made the biggest impression.  When you see Michelle in a meeting, you see her passion for OLLI and her dedication and professionalism.  The quality of ALL of the Continuing Education staff is outstanding. It is very rewarding volunteering for OLLI.  You get to know many very interesting people.  And it is one way to give back to an organization that has enriched my life. 

Word of mouth is our best advertising.  I think people are excited about what they are experiencing or learning about and want to share it with others.  If you’re thinking of becoming involved, just do it!  Visit a class with me so you can see what I’m so excited about! 

Over the next five years, I hope one of the changes we see will be more space for more class offerings on campus.  Also, perhaps a lottery system for signing up, so everyone has an equal chance to get what looked interesting to them.